Wilton Wind IV, LLC (Wilton IV, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC) is proposing to develop the Wilton IV Wind Energy Center (Project) in Burleigh County, North Dakota (Figure 1). The Project is located in south-central North Dakota, approximately 20 miles northeast of Bismarck. The Project is anticipated to consist of 53 GE 1.715 megawatt (MW) and 5 GE 1.79 MW xle wind turbine generators, with a total nameplate capacity of 99.8 MW. Additional facilities would include up to six temporary meteorological towers (met towers) and up to two permanent met towers (which will replace temporary met towers in the same locations), a substation, two 10-acre construction laydown areas, access roads, and electrical collection systems with underground cabling. An 11.6-mile, 230 kilovolt overhead transmission line would be constructed to connect the Project collection substation with an existing substation.
Wilton IV contracted Tetra Tech, Inc. (Tetra Tech) to conduct a habitat assessment and passive acoustic bat surveys. The objective of the habitat assessment was to assess the suitability of habitat within the Project area for bats. The objective of the passive acoustic surveys was to assess the occurrence and use of the Project area by local and migratory bat species, and the surveys were designed to fulfill the recommendations outlined within Tier 3 of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) voluntary Land Based Wind Energy Guidelines (WEG; USFWS 2012) and the Northern Long-eared Bat (NLEB) Interim Conference and Planning Guidance for Phase 2 presence/absence surveys (USFWS 2014a).The Project area is within the range of the proposed endangered NLEB, and surveys were focused on identifying any potential NLEB calls documented throughout the survey period.